Chiswick RNLI crew meet the University Boat Race teams

Lifeboats News Release

While crews from Oxford and Cambridge were rowing trials on the Thames this week they took time out to meet the duty crew at Chiswick RNLI lifeboat station, the charity partner for the 2020 Boat Race.

Oxford University mens Boat Race squad with Chiswick lifeboat crew

RNLI/David Clarke

Oxford mens Boat Race squad with Chiswick lifeboat crew

Most of the rowers were new to the river and as many were from all over the world knew little about the RNLI. The crew talked about the history of the institution since 1824 and why the search and rescue service started on the Thames in 2002 after the enquiries into the Marchioness disaster.

The crew described the dangers of the tideway for rowers and the particular risks for spectators during the boat race. The University squads had already seen Chiswick lifeboat on exercise and a number of times on emergencies, including a launch during the Oxford crew’s visit. Chiswick lifeboat station will be providing safety cover for spectators during the boat race with two E class lifeboats as well as nine small rescue craft patrolling the foreshore.

An RNLI spokesman said ‘It was a great opportunity to meet the boat race squads. They appreciated learning about the RNLI, its search and rescue service on the Thames and the safety role the lifeboat crews have during the Boat Race.’

Chiswick RNLI lifeboat station is the second busiest in the UK and Ireland. Crews have attended 222 incidents so far in 2019. Since The RNLI search and rescue service on the Thames started in 2002, Chiswick Lifeboat has attended over 3,600 incidents and rescued over 1,750 people, and dozens of dogs. The RNLI is entirely funded by public donations.

RNLI media contacts

  • David Clarke RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer (Chiswick), 07951 210500 [email protected]
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207416, 07786 668825, [email protected]
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 33678
Cambridge University womens Boat Race squad with Chiswick lifeboat crew

RNLI/David Clarke

Cambridge womens Boat Race squad with Chiswick lifeboat crew

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.